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Finland to investigate the brand Nokia phones after data breach report

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s data protection ombudsman said on Thursday that he would investigate whether the Nokia-branded phones, had breached data rules after a report said the handsets sent information to China.

FILE PHOTO: Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Nokia-branded mobile phones have been developed under license by the Finnish company HMD Global, who said no personal data is shared with a third party, although he said that there was a data software glitch with a batch of handsets that were recorded.

Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio told Reuters that he would review whether there were violations that involved “personal information and if there is a legal justification for this.”

The Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported on Thursday a data breach related to the Nokia 7 Plus model, built by the HMD. He said that the company had admitted that an unspecified number of Nokia-7 Plus phones had sent data to the Chinese server.”

Nokia will receive royalties of HMD, but has no direct investment in the company, declined to comment.

The U.S. allegations that the Chinese telecom giant Huawei a spy risk has increased Western security agencies of the government concerned. Huawei, which competes with Nokia in the network business, denies it poses such a risk.

NRK said that it was alerted to the dates issue, after a Nokia 7 Plus user contact with them to say that his phone often contact with a certain server, the sending data in packets in a non-encrypted format. NRK said HMD had refused to say who the owner of the server.

“We can confirm that there is no personal identifiable information will be shared with a third party,” HMD Global said in an e-mail to Reuters, adding there had been “an error in the software packaging process in a single batch of a device model”.

“Such data are never processed, and no person can be identified on the basis of this data,” HDM said, adding the failure is recorded in February, and that nearly all affected devices had installed the solution.

Nokia, once the world’s largest cell phone-maker, but who had struggled to keep up with the shift to smartphones, sold all of its handset activities and now focuses on the telecom-network equipment.

The handset business was initially sold to Microsoft in 2014. HMD, set up by former Nokia executives took the Nokia phone business to Microsoft in 2016 and struck a deal with Nokia Oyj to use the brand on smartphones.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen in Helsinki, Terje Solsvik in Oslo, additional reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Edmund Blair

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